13 Jayhawks might have saved their chances of winning another Big 12 regular-season title with a critical, 77-69 home win over the No. 20 Mountaineers on Saturday evening. The Mountaineers are coming off a home game where they beat TCU. It's the first of three ranked games in a row, followed by a game with Texas, finished with a road trip to Oklahoma State. With 10 minutes left in the game West Virginia led by 12 points and couldn't miss from downtown.
As is always the case when playing against West Virginia, whose relentless pressure forces opponents into a turnover on 24.8 percent of possessions (second-most in the country), the Jayhawks will need to take care of the ball.
The last time West Virginia traveled to Allen Fieldhouse was one to forget.
Still, the Jayhawks (20-6) certified their 29th consecutive 20-win season (an NCAA record) and at 9-4 in the Big 12 remain a game behind conference leader Texas Tech.
West Virginia built a 13-point halftime lead in the first meeting in Morgantown and was up 16 early in the second half before losing the game.
The bigger issue for Auburn (23-4, 11-3 SEC), which remains alone atop the SEC standings despite the loss, is the dislocated ankle suffered by leading shot-blocker Anfernee McLemore during the first half.
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The worst wreck came when Kyle Larson - who was leading the race - spun around off the bumper of Aric Almirola . The first half of the race, he and Chase Elliott , worked well together making moves through the field.
Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, with an enrollment of 31,287, No. 20/20 West Virginia is 19-7 and 8-5 in Big 12 play after its 82-66 win against TCU on February 12.
Frank Booker paced SC offensively with 19 points, making some big plays in the second half to stunt Auburn's rally, and Wesley Myers added 13 before fouling out late.
Malik Newman finished with 11 points for the Jayhawks, who shot almost 47 percent from the field. It should also be noted that Graham went to the charity stripe 10 times as he was getting fouled quite a bit.
Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike played one of the best games of his career so far in Saturday's win.
The free throws in the final minutes were challenging because Kansas had to have them. The Mountaineers are 19-7 on the season, and 8-5 in Big 12 play.
Struggling to a slow start once again against West Virginia, the Jayhawks grinded out offense at the free-throw line before finally figuring things out down the stretch. The Colonels finished the 2017 season 4-7 overall and 3-5 in OVC action. Bill Self's team has already lost five games at home this season, the most ever for a Self-coached team.